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Amadou Onana: Everton’s Casemiro

Keep going. Keep going, keep pushing, keep putting the graft and hard work in, and we’ll definitely be rewarded.””

Amadou Onana

Lu metti yàggul te ku muñ muuñ.

Whatever is painful does not last, and whoever perseveres smiles. Amadou Onana’s route to the premier league has been rife with struggle and pain. Born in Colobane, Dakar, the capital of Senegal, the Belgian international shared a large house with 14 members of his family, including his mother, aunt, siblings, cousins, and grandparents. The midfielder lived in Senegal up until the age of 11, remembering the signs of families, including his own, struggling to put food on the table. The Belgian has future plans to set up charities to help those less fortunate in Senegal.

Onana, upon moving to Belgium with his family, languished in the Anderlecht academy system for a significant amount of time, struggling to break into the A team due to commitments elsewhere; however, this struggle would pale in comparison to the struggles in his personal life, when his sister and agent, Melissa, was diagnosed with cancer and his mother struggled with her health, suffering the effects of a rare, long-term condition. He persevered. After subsequent spells with Belgian-based sides RWS Bruxelles and Zulte Waregem, he was handed a significant break when he signed his first professional contract for German side Hoffenheim in 2017.

Now, in the year 2024, Onana is one of the most sought-after talents in the Premier League, with a market value upwards of £50,000,000, with some of the most famous and richest clubs in Premier League history, including Manchester United, seeking his signature. But why?

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The Duelist.

One of the most important traits when it comes to a midfielder of Onana’s type is defence. Everton, no shock to anyone under Sean Dyche, is one of the least progressive and most defensive teams in the league, Dyche’s unit has the second-highest amount of defensive actions per 90 (78.64) and the second-lowest average possession (40.78)

This puts a heavy amount of pressure on the midfielder’s defensive work rate, despite this. Amadou Onana is one of the most defensively secure players in the Premier League, with the midfielder facing 7.15 duels per 90 and coming out with a 66.92% success rate.

Defensive Duels

Onana has one of the highest percentages of duels won in the Premier League, with a higher percentage than players such as Casemiro and Joao Palinhia, two midfielders who have set the standard for defensive midfielders in the Premier League.

Aerial Dules Won

Onana also boots an incredibly impressive percentage of aerial duels won this season, with the Everton midfielder boasting 65% of aerial duels won. The only player to have a higher percentage than him is Manchester City’s Rodri, who is widely touted as the best defensive midfielder in the world.

Defensive Actions Onana

The combative 22-year-olds duel percentage rate only compliments the fact that he is statistically one of the best defensive midfielders in the league, boasting an average of 10 successful defensive actions per 90. Only 9 other Premier League midfielders boast a higher rate than him with more minutes played: his Everton compatriot James Garner and Fulham’s Joao Palhinha.

Despite Onana playing for statistically one of the most defensive teams in the Premier League, the midfielder still has superior defensive statistics to boot, however, this factor’s quite heavily in his defensive game, which is hindered considerably due to Everton’s low possession football.

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Succesful Forward Passing Per 90

Statistically, his offensive game leaves a lot to be desired, with the Belgian midfielder ranging in the bottom left quadrant for successful forward passes per 90%; however, this statistic is heavily skewed due to Sean Dyche’s tactics, Onana, in reality, holds a considerably successful forward pass rate, with the Everton midfielder holding a 70% success rate with more forward passes per 90 than teammate James Garner.

Succesful Dribbles Per 90

Furthermore, Onana boasts a fine 80% success dribble rate, the second highest in the league. Despite once again having a considerably lower amount of dribbles per 90, the young midfielder boasts superior and comparable numbers to Casemiro and Joao Palhinha once again.

Offensive Duels Per 90

Finally, the former Lille man’s offensive duels are just as sufficient as their defensive counterpart, and with the Everton midfielder holding the highest rate for successful offensive duels in the Premier League per 90 minutes, this number is evidently superior to Joao Palhinha and Casemiro once again. Despite playing for one of the most lacklustre attacking teams in the Premier League, Onana’s offensive game is just as efficient as his older and much more experienced counterparts.

Onana’s Next Destination?

It’s clear to see the Belgian is destined to move to a bigger club, with the 22-year-old Everton midfielder holding some of the most efficient defensive numbers in the league, while also holding a sufficient amount of attack in his arsenal, with a mature head on his shoulders to boot. But where is 22-year-old’s next destination destined to be? The Belgian has been linked to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal in the past, yet with Declan Rice holding down the midfield in North London, this seems unlikely.

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As mentioned in this piece, the Everton midfielder holds incredibly comparable stats to Man United’s midfield great Casemiro, even holding superior numbers in some areas, and with the Manchester United midfielder slowing down and fast approaching the twilight of his career. Manchester United seems the best destination for him currently. But tunes can change quickly, and with the market as it is today, We can’t truly predict where Onana will end up, what is clear however, is whoever he does sign for, has an incredible talent on their hands.

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